specialized cast



motivational speaker

Tara Romano is an inspirational speaker for women empowerment, serial entrepreneur, and YouTube star with over five million views of her internationally renowned fitness videos featuring her original choreography and love of dance. Tara is the creative director and creator of Tone & Tease which is a fitness program incorporating cardio, toning with easy-to-follow dance moves using a strategically placed chair. Through her program she encourages her diva tribe to “Unleash & Let Go”. Tara’s vision is to ignite and inspire women to love themselves completely, by building their confidence so they can live their best life. You can find her videos on social media with daily inspirations and celebrating how to live “perfectly imperfect”.

Jeff gontarski


injury prevention

Dr. Jeff has always been surrounded by the arts. He is an accomplished musician, having performed at Count Basie Theatre and Rockefeller Center in voice and trumpet to name a few of his accomplishments. He has also performed in numerous high school and community shows such as Chorus Line, Godspell, Music Man, and West Side Story. His knowledge of the arts and body awareness make him a tremendous asset to our RISE participants. Dr. Jeff is currently a physical therapist and Clinical Director at Advanced Wellness of Marlboro and Freehold. Prior to that he was clinical coordinator at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. 

sean vanin, DPT


dance physical therapy, injury prevention

Sean started dancing at the age of 9 after his grandmother encouraged him to give it a try. He danced in many ballets and musical theatre. He had training in many styles of dance and participated in regional and national events. After high school, Sean attended Muhlenberg College to get his Bachelor’s degree in dance. While in college, Sean realized he wanted to share his passion for moving with others and decided to become a physical therapist. He attended Drexel University and received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy. He currently runs an outpatient orthopedic clinic in Quakertown, PA. He is excited to work with all ages and conditions but has built a local niche treating young dancers. He loves reaching out and educating dancers so they can have long and healthy careers!

Gina Velazquez


parent and teacher fitness classes

Gina, is an ignitor of all things that set your soul on fire. She is a mother of 3, licensed/certified Zumba® and Vixen Workout Instructor and lover of all things dance. Gina has made it her mission to inspire women to ignite the passion inside of them and “unbecome” everything they once believed they were, to finally become who they were always meant to be. She does this on and off the dance floor through her “Girl on Fire” blog and in her newest passion at her fitness studio in NJ, Ignite fitness. Gina’s vision is to create an all inclusive space for women and men to come and not only achieve their fitness goals but ignite their fire and find harmony between their Mind, Body, and Soul. She believes that all who experience her classes will feel this, and walk away with a better understanding of their purpose.

Justine Ayala


fitness coach

Justine Ayala started her training at a Conservatory in Orange County NY training exclusively in ballet. She then moved on to a studio closer to NYC to train in ballet under the direction of Michelle Lucci, former Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer, and her husband Ted Kivitt, former American Ballet TheatrePrincipal Dancer. After graduation Justine went on to attend Fordham University whilst continuing her training at the Ailey School. Throughout this time she began teaching at Central Park Dance where she worked closely with the director of the children’s program to create a curriculum that in 2010 contributed to the studio’s Best of Westchester Award. This led to her beginning to teach and choreograph for various schools in NYC. In 2015 Justine found her current home at Westchester Dance Academy one of NY’s most prestigious dance schools. Here she began working privately preparing children for YAGP, So You Think Next Generation, and various Capezio shoots. In addition to private instruction Justine also teaches technique classes and choreographs group routines for competitions. With WDA she travels throughout the US coaching her students to achieve national achievements.